Agriculture’s Risky Business and Farm Credit’s Advantage

Agriculture is a risky business: unprecedented weather and natural disasters can devastate crop yields. Successful farmers plan accordingly with a risk management strategy. Crop insurance makes for an essential element of such strategy, as the right policy enables producers to meet financial obligations—both business and personal.

Joining the ranks of smart agribusinesses managing their risk is Clear Springs Enterprises, LLC, an 18,000-acre agricultural operation focused on cattle ranching and the production of blueberries and strawberries in Polk County, Florida. Their comprehensive vision is a unique three-prong development plan: agriculture production, conservation and economic development.

The founder, Stanford N. Phelps, is an independent thinker and the epitome of a contrarian and investor. In 1999, he purchased old and unwanted phosphate lands. With a vision of marrying agriculture, technology and responsible development coupled with environmental consciousness, Clear Springs was born.

Patrick Carroll, Vice President of Clear Springs Enterprises, explained how key players at Clear Springs assess the value of crop insurance, “Every facet of agriculture is volatile. Farm Manager Jack Green Jr. estimates weather-dependent crop yields. Head Marketers Craig Underhill and Kyle Gashaw predict future prices based on fluctuating market conditions. Then, we estimate expected variance based on available data to measure how crop insurance helps mitigate that unpredictability. Our analysis indicates crop insurance can protect many types of farmers from intolerable risk while simultaneously increasing food security in the United States. Risk management programs offer stability, so people can invest in growing crops, providing jobs and bolstering the agriculture industry.”

People enjoy Clear Springs products as far north as Canada and as far west as Texas, but the aftereffects of Hurricane Irma on blueberry yields are still undetermined.

“We’re unsure how much stress our plants experienced, and how that will affect production timing because landing in the right window is key. We have to take production delays into consideration, as that could cause overlap into Georgia’s harvest time. The crop might even be early. There’s no way of knowing,” said Carroll.

Rationally anticipating the worst and planning accordingly is the mark of proper risk management, and Clear Springs can attest to the benefit of doing so.

“Farm Credit’s Whole Farm Revenue policy is perfect for Florida blueberry growers in regards to the production window. If you miss it, then your revenue can suffer substantially,” said Carroll. According to the USDA, Whole Farm Revenue Protection provides a risk management safety net and price support for all commodities on the farm under one insurance policy.

Farmers, ranchers and growers are also diversifying their operations to protect themselves from the inherent risks related to agricultural production. Crop insurance is one of the most cost-effective tools that can protect any operation from those risks.

“The same people who insure their cars and homes also realize it makes as much sense to insure their livelihood, and crop insurance is an ideal way to do that,” said Amy Pomeroy, Vice President of Finance for Clear Springs Enterprises.

Farm Credit understands the risky business of agriculture and how hard farmers work to maintain their livelihood. Relationship managers, already equipped with an extensive understanding of farm production cycles, accurately evaluate crop insurance needs of every individual operation, ultimately serving as a consultant for that operation. Crop Insurance with Farm Credit provides an unparalleled peace of mind knowing that when loss occurs, policies will align with the personalized needs of an operation.

Regina Thomas, Farm Credit of Central Florida’s Director of Financially Related Services speaks to the Farm Credit advantage, “We work diligently to understand every aspect of a customer’s operation when writing their policy. We obtain and analyze detailed records needed to accurately document and underwrite every policy. We understand the inherent risks that come with each farming operation and their financial success is always a top priority.”

Farm Credit’s foundation as a financial institution makes confidentiality and cyber security paramount to those who handle sensitive details.

“We take your private information very seriously and take precautionary measures to protect you. We stress that all information is safe with us,” said Thomas.

Agriculture is unpredictable, but there are steps production agriculturists can take to protect their revenue, assets and livelihood through a risk management strategy with the right crop insurance product. Crop Insurance as a risk management tool means the continuity of our food production is secure, which makes American agriculture abundant and affordable. Farmers rest easy knowing a safety net for their livelihood exists and their agents are agriculture experts who take each operation’s best interest to heart.  

To learn more about writing your crop insurance with Farm Credit, call us at 866.245.3637 and ask to speak with Regina Thomas (rthomas@farmcreditcfl.com) or Jennifer Parrish (jparrish@farmcreditcfl.com), our knowledgeable crop insurance specialists. Or visit our website at www.farmcreditcfl.com.

Subscribe for Exclusive Content Updates